The Three Sisters

You can never tell what the cat will drag in or what a landscaper’s crew will dig up on your property. What the cat drags in goes into the garbage rather quickly, assuming you find it rather quickly. What the landscaper digs up takes more time.

We’re having a patio built at the rear of our house. It wasn’t something I had in mind to do immediately but as soon as we finished our walk-out basement, it became apparent that we needed to do something outside. So we hired a landscape company, which sent in an architect and who, with another architect, drew up plans to create a patio, fix a falling wall, finish off a fallow area at the extreme rear of our property and create a stone wall along the front where the lawn drops off to the street.

I wanted the wall across the front because I was jealous that many of the condos across the street had stone walls that added to their appearance.

Much needed to be dug out to get our patio up and running and the wall fixed and on the first day the crew asked me if they could dump the extracted dirt in the fallow area of our property. I said no because we had long-range plans to develop that. The crew assured me they had a place to dump the dirt off site.

That worked very well until one day I looked out and discovered that the crew had dug up three huge boulders (either limestone or sandstone). I quickly ran out and asked them not to remove them from the property. I knew they would fit into our landscape somewhere. In fact, the crew wanted one of them to place at the end of the new wall. Fine, I said; I can do something with two boulders.

In the end, the crew found three more boulders and I figured out what I wanted to do. I had the crew moved the best three to the front of the house and line them up. I call the result rock art and gave it the title “The Three Sisters.” I note that I had three sisters at one time and that there is a huge formation in the Blue Mountains of Australia called the Three Sisters. (There’s also one in Moab National Park called the Three Gossips, but I didn’t think that would fly.)

We’re planning to mulch around them for now and in the fall plant a number of white birch trees behind them, although we want to check with our architect first to see what she thinks of planting Mountain Laurel. Mountain Laurel is, after all, Pennsylvania’s state flower. I remember seeing a lot of Mountain Laurel and white birch trees in the woods behind our neighborhood in the town I grew up in.

Needless to say, both are evocative and I can’t wait to see which one we plant.